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The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher pdf (1,566,923 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher
Intending to have them published, Swan's wife had his letters transcribed as he sent them.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (1,566,923 Bytes)
1945-05-12 (May 12, 1945)
[Swan, Henry]
[Swan, Mary Fletcher]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War II
Exhibit Category:
Medical Training, Wartime Surgical Experiences, and Early Career, 1935-1949
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 51
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1944-1996
Folder: World War II. Letters at home, by Henry Swan II, 1944-1945
May 12, 1945
Fletchie dearest,
Yesterday we made the move I told you we expected. The team is busted up completely. Red is off on D.S. somewhere; Ginny at H.Q.; Nick and Bobby are in other hospitals in the immediate area. Ruff is with me.
We had a nice trip down. I brought my car, which made travelling very comfortable; scooting along about 50 over the autobahn in a smooth-running limousine is a far cry from jouncing along in a 3 1/2 ton truck. It felt fine to be headed in the right direction: i.e., toward the good old U.S.A. About 180 miles of "progress" I should say. It was a lovely hot sunny day, and the scenery, as usual, was lovely. We reported in to the Med. Bn. Through which we are to work. Our job is to oversee and direct Kraut military hospitals and displaced persons hospitals. The object is to get Krauts out of the hospital into P A cages; to sort & treat displaced persons; to get the civilians into civilian hospitals. Our job is to see that these things get done. It promises to be interesting. I shall see at first hand the methods and results of the German medical treatment of their wounded.
Meanwhile, I have set up living quarters almost like a human being again. Ruff and I have taken over the ground-floor of a smallish civilian house near the hospital. I have a nice sunny room full of potted plants and stuffy furniture. But there is a big, handsome desk in the sunny corner, and the bed has sheets! Also one of those whatcha-may-collums bolster affairs which always fail me. I'm arranging to get coal for the people so we can have hot water. I think we shall enjoy this spell of luxury. we have an excellent mess served by some Krauts in the wing of the hospital next door.
The hospital itself is a General Hospital of the Luftwaffe, and is located in Bad Meinberg, a little town near Fortelu, which you'll find about halfway between Hanover and Hamein. This whole region is crowded with German hospitals for their wounded soldiers.
The news of the drastic starvation in Holland and Norway is being confirmed each day by more and more factual reports. Holland, of all the Western countries, seems to have suffered the most from the Germans. Why? No one seems to know. Meanwhile, the uncovering of the concentration death-hole near Salzburg, where 600 a day were starved to death and then incinerated, makes the other terrible camps seem like only small, hideous editions of Hell. The beasts are utterly without human feeling. I've gotten to the point where I feel that every member of the SS, of the Gestapo, and every Party member of the Kreislauter standing or above should be executed for that reason alone. They are all in on these doings.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., and even over here, we feed the German prisoners and patients as well as the American soldier is fed. I have seen some of our prisoners captured in the Battle of the Bulge. They had lost 1/2 of their body weight in 4 months time! Geneva convention indeed!
For the Krauts it was strictly something to be adhered to by Americans. To them it was irrelevant! Next time you see pictures of Germans in one of our POW enclosures lounging around nice recreation rooms, drinking beer & coca-cola, well-fed and clothed, you can understand, perhaps, why that sight makes every G.I. over here boil with rage.
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